Schooling In The Era of COVID-19: Student and Staff Testimony

Corinna Rec, Staff Writer

If there is one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that the new online schooling process is difficult. Online learning is a true test to our school system and to everyone’s ability to adapt to change, not to mention the non-academic restraints of a quarantine keeping us all at home. There have been many bumps along the road, and there are going to be more. However, we must keep in mind that we are not alone, and many people are going through very similar situations. Even though it is difficult, our staff and students are finding ways to make this all work as smoothly as possible. Here, you will find some of the perspectives of teachers and students, as an inside view on what someone else might be feeling or thinking. 

School is hard enough without the lack of contact with peers and staff. We still have access to people, but only digitally, and many students (and teachers) know, that isn’t the same. Classes are still difficult and important decisions still have to be made, even though students may not have the support they did just a few weeks ago. Many are struggling with this, in addition to other matters. While the plan to go forward is being fleshed out, many students feel this floundering even more. Some students are in over their heads with work, and can barely stay afloat. And while hobbies can keep our minds occupied and off of the disaster we find ourselves in, some students, one in particular, “have not had time to do so because of homework”. Students feel that work is “so time consuming”, that they don’t have time to relax, and feel some teachers don’t notice the amount of work they give. Students have stated that a teacher may give what they think is an hour of work, but for some slower working students, or students who are adjusting to change, or have new responsibilities, it turns into much longer than one hour. Something making this all even more difficult is being away from the physical school and missing the experiences. I know I feel for the class of 2020, along with staff and peers. As student Robert Sanders said, he will miss “being able to make memories in the last few months of high school, because the seniors will not get these back”.  Still, some students find the control they have of their daily schedules and the opportunity to spend more time with their families a gift. There are bright sides to this quarantine, even if they are just found in the little things. And if it helps, know that many other students around the world share in your experience, and there are many more at school who are still there to support you. 

Speaking of support, our wonderful teachers have been working so hard to be there for us. And while some students may feel overwhelmed by work, teachers are trying their best to continue to do their jobs, and teach. Teachers who have not taught online before may find things more difficult, because of all the added steps needed to reach the students. As Mr. Dupuis said, “I don’t get to see my students when I’m teaching, so I have no way of knowing if I am going too fast, or too slow, or if my students are struggling with a concept in the moment”. Learning in these times may be difficult but teaching is too. We’re all human beings, and many of the students and staff miss the daily routines that they used to follow in a school day. Online teaching can be time consuming, and material often needs to be presented in different ways, which can be extremely trying. In addition, the sheer volume of emails being exchanged among staff – as well as those directed to them from students – can mean that some teachers find themselves buried in messages. Even through all this, all of our teachers work hard to help us learn, and are doing what they can to make this process as easy as possible. We all miss school, and the interactions with each other. The teachers are no exception. Mrs. Keezer said that one thing she missed most about her classroom was “seeing those bright eyes and happy smiles”. The lack of contact can be very hard, and everyone is having troubles, but many of the teachers feel that keeping to a daily schedule helps them process better and stay on track. There are many ways to cope with the issues we face today; simply knowing we are there for each other is a big one.